Linda Reijnhoudt, Member of EHRI Work Package 17 (Standards and Guidelines) and 19 (Data Integration Infrastructure)
Developer at DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services), the Netherlands
My first involvement with EHRI was on standards and guidelines, and how to translate those into a datamodel. The first step of getting used to the terminology took a while, because although I work at a digital archive (DANS), I had never set foot in an actual archive or spent time with a card catalogue.
"Really, you mean a search engine is not a finding aid?", was my reaction. And then when you think you understand, you come into contact with someone from another institute and you learn about the very subtle variations in meaning and use of the terms.
As always communication is key. Within EHRI this is not hard, as the people in EHRI are very kind. They are also very patient with us, poor techies, who might never truly appreciate all the intricacies of this paper world.
Making the transition from this paper based world of the archives to the digital world of software is a challenge for the institutions too. Becoming more transparent, showing metadata outside the walls of the institute, aligning the metadata to international standards, it is an interesting journey that requires some changes in the archival mindset as well.
In the end the portal will show the content created by the archival institutions and by the EHRI workpackage on Identification and Investigation, presented in the user interface created by the workpackage Portal and VRE. The work of my workpackage (Data Integration Infrastructure) in itself should not be noticeable. That's one of the reasons I like to draw diagrams, it helps to visualize the bits and bytes before they appear on screen.
Image: Diagram, Linda Reijnhoudt
EHRI Newsletter, July 2014